Last edited 27 May 2015

Green book

'The Green Book: Appraisal and Evaluation in Central Government' is produced by HM Treasury. It provides a structure for the appraisal of proposed central government projects, policies and programmes, and for the evaluation of existing projects, policies and programmes. The Green Book is supported by a range of supplementary guidance.

The Green book is intended to cover the following activities:

The Green Book sets out transparent and consistent procedures for assessment and evaluation to ensure that public funds are spent efficiently and are spent on proposals that will be of the greatest benefit to society.

Broadly, the stages of development of a project, programme or policy are described as:

  • Justify action.
  • Set objectives.
  • Appraise options.
  • Develop and implement the solution.
  • Evaluate.

Assessment is the process of deciding whether the proposal should go ahead or not, and which option to pursue. Assessment should includes economic, financial, social and environmental impacts and includes the following overall processes:

  • Identify alternative approaches.
  • Attach monetary values to impacts.
  • Carry out cost/benefit analysis of options.

The Green Book suggests that the issues that should be considered as part of an assessment might include:

  • Strategic impact.
  • Economic rationale.
  • Financial arrangements and affordability.
  • Achievability.
  • Commercial and partnering arrangements.
  • Regulatory impact.
  • Legislation.
  • Information management and control.
  • Environmental impacts.
  • Rural issues.
  • Equality.
  • Health
  • Health and safety.
  • Consumer focus.
  • Regional perspectives.
  • European Union.
  • Design quality.

The Green Book is not specific to design and construction projects, and so the guidance it contains can be a little general. However, the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) gateway review process does include guidance specific to design and construction projects, and OGC gateway 1 and OGC gateway review 2 include a requirement for compliance with procedures set out in the Green Book.

NB The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) has now been absorbed into the Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG) within the Cabinet Office. OGC guidance has been archived, however, it is cited in the Government Construction Strategy and the Common Minimum Standards, and links are provided to OGC documents from government websites such as the Major Projects Authority.

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